Press releases

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement on the funding bill that makes important cuts to federal programs and makes investments in Louisiana’s economy. 

“Government shutdowns are catastrophic, and this bill keeps the government up and running. It turns Louisiana’s priorities into realities. Our jobs, our communities and our freedom are a focus of this bill,” said Kennedy.

The bill also includes Kennedy’s language protecting veterans’ Second Amendment rights. Kennedy successfully amended the bill to include a provision based on his veterans Second Amendment Protection Act. This provision would prevent veterans from losing their right to purchase or own firearms when they receive help managing their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

“Veterans who sacrificed to defend our Constitution shouldn’t see their own rights rest on the judgment of unelected bureaucrats—but right now, they do. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act would stop government workers from stripping veterans of their Second Amendment rights just because they get a helping hand to manage their hard-earned VA benefits,” Kennedy explained.

Current law infringes on veterans’ right to bear arms because the VA is required to send a veteran’s name to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) whenever a fiduciary is appointed to help that veteran manage his or her VA benefits. Placement on NICS blocks veterans from purchasing or owning firearms.

Because unelected bureaucrats at the VA ultimately decide—without a court ruling—whether veterans receive help from a fiduciary and therefore end up in NICS, current law denies veterans due process.

Because today’s package includes Kennedy’s legislation, it would prohibit the VA Secretary from transmitting a veteran’s personal information to NICS unless a judge has ruled that the person is a danger to himself or others.

Louisiana priorities secured in the bill:

  • $36.5 million to provide the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway the resources it needs to maintain the 200-mile commercial artery. The funding will prevent a dam-safety emergency or navigation loss at the Boggs Lock and Dam, which would cut off all access between the waterway and the Mississippi River.
  • $15 million to move planning, environmental and engineering work for the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor forward. The corridor is an elevated roadway along the 40 Arpent Canal that will connect Lower St. Bernard to the interstate system.
  • $13.4 million to build an athletic track and field at Fort Polk in Vernon Parish, La. to support troop readiness.
  • $7 million to construct an addition to Barksdale Air Force Base’s medical facility to relieve overcrowding and reduce wait times. The medical facility is currently 52% over its capacity.
  • $6.7 million to plan and design a dormitory for Security Forces Airmen to support more personnel at the new weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base.
  • $6 million to provide Ruston, La. with initial construction planning for the first phase of a new service road that will connect Ruston to Grambling, La.
  • $4 million to give vehicles access to the 8th District U.S. Coast Guard Station in Venice, La. Currently, this vital roadway needs serious improvements because it regularly floods, which prevents access to the Coast Guard station. 
  • $3 million to upgrade and modernize to the original National World War II Museum’s 23-year-old D-Day Invasion of Normandy building and its exhibitions.